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When the Barrel Breaks

By Paul A. White

It’s an alienated look

you get from along shore

when you are caught up

in the river of madness.

Some people spot you and panic,

some people freeze up and ignore you,

distracting the children’s eyes

from such apparent anguish.

A muscle of thought

and emotion rushes you closer

to the cracked off edge.

You wrestle against nothing,

you try to grab onto your dream.

A few good people are desperate

to help, but with no means

they run along shore, calling.

Your name is on the wind.

So here you are now

wrapped up terrified,

running the thought race

to its seeming dead end,

and wet to the bone.

There is no stopping -

your world is upside over.

You fall full of air

in a thunder of chaos

and origins, you drop

into the roaring

gear works.

PAUL A. WHITE lives in Cheektowaga and is a registered nurse. He was diagnosed as schizophrenic at 17. His chapbook, “The Difficult Gift” published in 2011 contains poems about his affliction and his recovery.